A UFO landed in Ireland in '54,
in Donegal, in my back garden.
At the controls was my grandfather,
and not wanting his craft to be seen,
he had a house built around it,
or he added bricks to the turfhouse
till his spaceship had a coat
and no earthly visitor could guess
that alien splendour was there.
I was two when it landed
but I can just about remember.
I can hear the noise it made -
a humming that scared me,
as if it might take off again,
scattering bricks everywhere,
taking my grandfather away,
but he walked into the house
and switched the lights on -
no need for paraffin and matches,
just a bulb hanging there
like our own small moon,
and this was repeated in every room,
and a copper kettle boiled
away from the fire,
and my grandfather took me
out to the turfhouse
to see the thing being fed,
but I closed my eyes
stuck my fingers in my ears,
and cried.

'The UFO' from Sanctuary (Cape, 2004), © Matthew Sweeney, 2004, used by permission of the author and The Random House Group Ltd.

Sponsor this poem

Would you like to sponsor this poem? Find out how here.


Buy album £0.00



3Last Supper

4A Round House

5Imagined Arrival

6The Servant

7The Ideal Home

8A Crow's Cremation


10Divers at the Laurentic

11A Couple Waiting

12The Shadow Home

13Pink Milk

14Her Song



17The Desert


19Donkey Hoof

20The House


22The Hat

23The Compromise

24An End

25The Butcher


27A Smell of Fish


29The Summons


31The UFO

32In the Dust


34The Sweatmark

35The Snowy Owl

36The Hunger Artist at Home

37The Snake


39Black Moon

40In the Garden

41The Glass Chess Set

42The Blue Hammock

43Fish and Chips

Books by Matthew Sweeney